2018 GB9 Midlands Classic - Event Report
Mar. 10, 2018
Mar. 10, 2018
With Christmas and new year soon passing by, the event on the mind of all self-respecting pool players was soon upon us - the 2018 GB9 Midlands Classic! A healthy glut of new players assembled at the Park Inn by Radisson in Telford, all hoping to get their hands on the Main Event trophy.
With brand new sponsorship for 2018 courtesy of Cyclop Balls and Andy Cloth, continued sponsorship by Rasson Billiards and McDermott Cues, a tweaked tournament format and fresh table layout, anticipation was at it’s very highest. The round one matches were soon underway, and the random draw threw up a clash of two titans on the TV table - The Magician Chris Melling and Dynamite Darren Appleton, back on the tour after dominating the international scene for a number of years. Melling was the favourite on paper, as Appleton has taken some leave of competition in recent months. The match itself panned out that way too - Appleton showing his class with some tough run-outs, but Melling looked that touch sharper. His kicking was also on form; the highlight being a slow one-railer to make a ball in the side pocket. 9-6 to Melling was a fair result. The Magician then faced a tough test in the face of Karl Boyes, who's GB9 record is phenomenal. 25 minutes and no mistakes later, Karl had despatched Chris to the one-loss side 9-2.
Adam Collins and Bob Harris were both involved in two final rack deciders - but losing out to Lee Noble and Alan Bell respectively. Kurtis Weaver then held his nerve, in a very solid performance to knock Chris Melling out of the event.
Barry "The Baguette" French then showed why he's been knocking on the door of the top UK players, with a very solid win over Damian Overton. Joni Holden put up a very respectable fight against former World Champion Darren Appleton, taking seven racks off him. Stewart Colclough then edged out Tom Staveley in a high quality battle - Tom coming in with three break and runs, but Colclough just holding firm to win the final-rack decider.
Mark Foster continued to show why he's arguably the most improved player of late, taking down Derby-based Kev Simpson. Simpson, a solid rhythm player who's a threat to anyone on his day, was barely allowed an opening to get off the mark, as Foster put on an absolute clinic.
As we got to the business end of things, Stewart Colclough edged out Mark Gray, and Karl Boyes was making light work of his run to the final - two 9-2 and two 9-3 wins respectively - Chris Fraser, Stewart Colclough, Mark Foster and Martyn Taylor all falling by the wayside.
Adam Stevens then ran 'The Terminator', Damian Overton close, 9-7. Overton then went on a storming run to the final, taking out former World Champion Daryl Peach, Marcel Price, and Craig Osborne. By his own admission though, his break was his achilles heel and his back was against the wall in the opening stages of most racks against Karl Boyes in the final, who's break was working very well. An 11-1 win was harsh on Overton, but certainly deserved for Boyes, who continued his impressive GB9 form with yet another Main Event trophy to add to his cabinet. Well done Karl!
Rasson Billiards Super Cup
The first ever Rasson Billiards Super Cup was soon underway at the Park Inn by Radisson. The spiritual successor to the Pro Cup, it pulls in the hot players of the moment in an elite level clash of talent. All 14 entrants were the players who reached the last 16 of the Main Event. No easy games in this field!
Michael Beeston had a very tough opening match in Mark Foster, who broke and ran three racks early doors. Few balls were missed by either player, but Foster took it 10-8, in this slightly longer-race format.
Barry French will no doubt have been frustrated at the harshness of this game, having broke and ran three racks to Damian Overton's none, and still came away 10-8 loser. Morray Dolan then scooped a very impressive 10-1 victory over UK number one Craig Osborne. Scot Chris Fraser battled hard against Damian Overton, but Overton was a tough nut to crack this weekend. Despite Fraser matching him for firepower, Overton kept things a little bit tighter when needed and squeezed through 10-8.
Young talent Kurtis Weaver then held his nerve against GB9 stalwart Stewart Colclough, in a hill-hill thriller that would have hurt Colclough. His break was working, breaking and running three times to Weaver's none, but Weaver kept finding ways to win racks.
Kristian Phillips had a tough start against Chris Fraser losing 10-6, before sending Barry French packing. Kurtis Weaver also then shortly after inflicting the pain of a hill-hill defeat on someone, had to endure it himself, courtesy of Chris Fraser.
Mark Foster and Imran Majid both made steady advances towards the final stages, dispatching of Craig Osborne and Martyn Taylor respectively. It was Morray Dolan who would put an end to Foster's run, beating him 10-8, and meanwhile, a familiar sight was beckoning - Karl Boyes heading towards yet another final. On paper he was favourite against Dolan in the final, but he had to get past Imran Majid first. With nearly half of the total racks played being break and runs, it was a high quality affair, but Boyes prevailed. In the final, Dolan put up a good fight, but was really struggling with his break, both with making balls and making three points. This proved to be the deciding factor and Karl cruised to victory, 11-6. Karl's going to have to invest in a new trophy cabinet!
Cyclop Challenge Cup
The Cyclop Challenge Cup is for many the highlight of the weekend. A chance to pit their abilities against players at their own ability level, and for many, an opportunity to break through and make a name as a top UK shooter.
Tier 1 competition got off to a fierce start, with Jamie Brennan coming in with three break and runs for a rock solid win against smooth cueist Robin Cripps. Coach extraordinaire and fine player himself Alan Bell sneaked through hill- hill against Andy Lester, and Kev Simpson took out his anger at his morning mauling on Neil Margossian, with three break and runs and a 9-1 score line being the result.
Elliott Sanderson soon undid any momentum that Jamie Brennan was carrying, with a convincing 9-2 victory, showing a ruthlessness whenever he got in.
Lee Creighton was to go on and make a run for the final, but his tournament got off to a tighter start with a hill-hill win over Ryan O'Neil. Dave Garden then sent Ryan packing 7-4 on the one-loss side. Up next was Terry Davies facing Benji Buckley. Buckley wasn't in full free-flowing form, but he defeated the Welshman 9-7.
Joni Holden took a very respectable six racks off elite cueman Mark Gray, and Neil Margossian got back to winning ways with a 7-4 victory over Andy Lester.
Into the last sixteen, GB9 stalwart Alan Coton did his best to let Tom Staveley back into the match after at one point gaining a four rack lead. Staveley took his chances though and battled back to hill-hill, but stumbled in the decider with a chance amongst the balls to take the win. Coton held his nerve and made no mistakes with a tense run-out.
Shane O'Hara continued to show his face at the business end of most tournaments he enters, and dispatched of Neil Margossian and Lee Noble. Elliott proved to be too hot to handle in the Quarters however, who took him out 9-7.
Mark Gray looked as solid as ever however, taking out both Benji and Elliott, and faced Lee Creighton in the final. Lee had had an impressive tournament, but had to hold his nerve in another hill-hill battle against Terry Davies.
Sadly for him though, taking the trophy proved to be a bridge too far, with 'Granite' Mark Gray pulling away after Lee kept things tight in the early racks. Creighton has certainly cemented a name for himself as one to watch, but for now there was no shame in second place to Mark Gray on this occasion.
The first Tier 2 event of the year got off to an action packed start, with lots of faces eager to make the jump to the higher echelons of the tour.
Tony Weafer raced out of the blocks, impressively taking care of David Worrow, breaking and running out three racks in a 9-3 victory. Elsewhere Chris Teahan was no doubt disappointed to break and run twice and still be edged out by Rikki Hatherly in a deciding rack.
Meanwhile, Craig Seeney and Mark Shepherd played out an extremely edgy affair which went down right to the wire, with lots of chances missed to seal victory. The tight, professional conditions and the slick new Andy cloth were demanding the highest of standards, and the pressure was firmly on them both to progress to the next round. Seeney took advantage of a dramatic miss on the seven ball by Shepherd, despite him landing inch-perfect on it due to his previous ball in band. Shepherd in bits, Seeney pulled off a spectacular table-length draw shot to land plum on the nine. Relief all around that it was over, a friendly embrace ensued!
Bradley Holt also put in a solid performance with two break and runs against Kevin Rowles, who himself went on to lose to a commanding performance by Chris Teahan. Chris was then right up against it however, facing off against an in-form Dean Thompson. Thompson came with two break and runs, and
impressively managed to hold things together in the final hill-hill rack.
Meanwhile our two finalists were quietly going about their work, with a degree of ease that showed why they were the last two standing. Young Turner took down Richard Fullwell 9-5, Craig Seeney 9-1, Allan Brown 9-6 and John Chapman 9-6. Bob Harris was equally as impressive, beating Carl Weaver 9-4, James Glendenning 9-3, Dean Thompson 9-5 and Paul Ratcliffe 9-2. In the final, it was all one way traffic, with Harris setting up a solid early lead and never really looking back. Congratulations Bob on your first Challenge 2 trophy!